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Which app is consuming my CPU resources?


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#1 Eagle7

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 11:24 PM

Hi Folks,

I've had this mystery for quite some time now, and cannot seem to figure it out. I run XP Home, SP3 on a Compaq Presario desktop, 1GB RAM, 80GB hard drive, 58% free space. I use AVG 8 Internet Security(pd vers), WinPatrol, Spybot S&D and SpywareBlaster. When I'm online (dialup), and notice that my surfing seems to have slowed down I'll immediately open up my Task Manager. Upon a quick glance I notice the CPU usage is up to 100%, BUT QUICKLY goes back to a normal 4-8% one-two seconds later. I cannot scroll down the list fast enough to see which app is the guilty party. The funny thing is, as long as I leave the Task Manager open and minimized my usage remains normal. I suspect that the culprits are "services.exe" and "winlogon.exe" as they've been caught in the act before. Surely, this isn't normal behavior, and what can be done to minimize this problem?

My antivirus, etc. is all up to date. I've even done scans in Safe Mode as well as done Trend Micro's Online virus scan, all the while coming up clean every time. There is no other strange activity to report, all seems normal except this anomaly. Sure would appreciate anyone's wisdom on this most annoying occurrence. Thanks in advance.

Eagle7


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#2 dc3

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 11:42 PM

Just something to consider here, dialup connections are notoriously slow to start with, and then you add the fact that a web site can be slowed by the amount of traffic it is encountering, and things slow down. What you may be experiencing may just be the normal speed of the Internet connection. If the CPU usage is only intermittent at these times I would think that it isn't the problem. You can alway shut down any applications that are running at the time that aren't needed to see if this makes any difference.

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#3 Eagle7

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 12:00 AM

Hi dc3,

I get out at 49.2 kbps consistently. I don't understand how the problem could be internet "traffic", when as soon as I open the Task Manager, the CPU resources immediately go back down to 4-8%. If I'm missing the boat here, please bear with me. As long as the TM is open, I'm surfing just fine. Does this make any sense to you? BTW, this is relatively new behavior for my computer, not it's norm. Thanks.

Eagle7

#4 QQQQ

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 10:09 AM

Task manager usually spikes up when you first open it, it takes some resources too. When it is open click "processes" at the top, then click "view" and select "select columns". Now put a check mark in the "CPU time" box, this will let you know what process is using the cpu and for how long. Click on the new column you just added "CPU time" (yes click on the words "CPU time") twice to sort it and bring the highest to the top.

#5 Eagle7

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 05:54 PM

Hi QQQQ.

Okay, did as you asked. Not sure what I'm looking for, but these are the first six entries:

Process CPU time Memory Usage

System Idle 5:49:54 16k
Firefox 5:09 118,408k
Thunderbird 1:55 45,492k
Avgfws8.exe 1:50 10,512k
services.exe 1:08 3.472k
avgrsx.exe 1:08 42.904k

What, if anything does this tell you? Thanks.

Regards, Eagle7

#6 QQQQ

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 10:56 AM

Hi QQQQ.

Okay, did as you asked. Not sure what I'm looking for, but these are the first six entries:

Process CPU time Memory Usage

System Idle 5:49:54 16k
Firefox 5:09 118,408k
Thunderbird 1:55 45,492k
Avgfws8.exe 1:50 10,512k
services.exe 1:08 3.472k
avgrsx.exe 1:08 42.904k

What, if anything does this tell you? Thanks.

Regards, Eagle7


Okay that looks right, do you see that system idle time is at the top with 5:49:54? It is normal for system idle time be first on the list. This is because the cpu isn't being "worked" all of the time so sometimes it is idle. Next on the list is Firefox at 5:09, that means Firefox has used that much cpu time. And next is Thunderbird and that brings up another question for you, is your Thunderbird set to automatically send and receive email every so often? That could be your culprit with the internet slowing briefly every so often. Easy to test too, just leave it closed while surfing and see if you get the slowdowns. Another thing is you are on dialup and that is just inherently slow compared to today's broadband. Heck even I have seen slowdowns on broadband connections that were actually slower than dialup!
Also your are your antivirus and Windows XP set to automatic update themselves? That too could slow you down, try turning off all of the auto updates and see if it helps.
When I moved here 3 years ago I had to use dialup at first till they got DSL here and that's what I did, turned off all of mt auto updates. CAUTION!!! you have to remember to update everything you turn off manually. You have to be diligent in doing the updates manually, but you will be happier surfing that way. Think of it as Windows, AVG Security, Thunderbird, AND don't forget you all trying to use the 56K connection you have at the same time.

#7 Eagle7

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 08:37 PM

Hi QQQQ,

Hmm, although I haven't changed my computing habits any, in that I always have my browser and Tbird open at the same time, I will give your suggestions a try. To answer your questions, yes, I do have Tbird set to check for mail every 10 minutes. While I haven't noticed any slowdowns before in the last 4.5 years of doing the same thing, I will try keeping it closed while I'm surfing and see if that makes any difference.

You've seen some broadband connections SLOWER than Dial up? That's pretty crazy.

My AVG does get it's updates automatically, well, every 4 hours. Windows update is "Notify me, but.." Otherwise, I think most every other program I do check on manually. However, I will review that to make sure.

I did download Malwarebytes last night. It found Trojan.Agent. Is that for real, or possible a false positive? That was the only thing it found while doing the full long scan. It removed it just fine.

Thanks for your help. I'll definitely give your suggestions a try.

Regards,

Eagle7

#8 QQQQ

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 04:36 PM

I'd say the trojan could definitely be a problem too, The program you used is a good one. (Malwarebytes Antimalware)

#9 Eagle7

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 01:09 PM

Hi QQQQ,

Wanted to let you know that so far I haven't seen any improvement or changes in CPU usage by not using Tbird at the same time as when I'm browsing or turning off the mail notifier. I'm beginning to wonder if it's caused by my AVG 8. I understand that it consumes a huge amount of resources compared to vs 7 (which I had absolutely no problems with). The timing seems about right. I've downloaded a trial vs of Kaspersky and thinking about giving it a try and seeing if things improve. Thanks for your thoughts on the Malwarebytes program, much appreciated.

Regards,

Eagle7

#10 QQQQ

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 09:24 AM

Hi QQQQ.

Okay, did as you asked. Not sure what I'm looking for, but these are the first six entries:

Process CPU time Memory Usage

System Idle 5:49:54 16k
Firefox 5:09 118,408k
Thunderbird 1:55 45,492k
Avgfws8.exe 1:50 10,512k
services.exe 1:08 3.472k
avgrsx.exe 1:08 42.904k

What, if anything does this tell you? Thanks.

Regards, Eagle7


Well Eagle7 AVG is number four on the list you posted earlier (Avgfws8.exe) which is AVG's firewall, I would disable the AVG firewall and leave the WIndows firewall on instead to see if it makes a difference. Although getting rid of AVG and going Kaspersky would be something else to try as you mentioned you may. NOD32 is a pretty good one too, it is known for using up less resources while still giving full protection. Good luck, I think you are on the right track.

#11 Eagle7

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 12:29 AM

Hi QQQQ,

Thanks for your thoughts. I'll follow through with checking out Kaspersky, got the free 30 day trial.

Merry Christmas

#12 QQQQ

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 08:11 AM

You are welcome and a Merry Christmas to you too!

#13 Eagle7

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 04:31 PM

Hi QQQQ,

Thanks for the warm wishes. Hey, guess what? I finally nailed the offending app yesterday when I opened Task Manager; it's explorer.exe! I Googled that, and apparently, I'm not the only one having this problem, seems many are. Microsoft actually admits to causing the problem, and offers a fix. Will miracle never cease? LOL

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/819946#appliesto

Regards,

Eagle7

#14 QQQQ

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 08:25 AM

Your welcome Eagle7.
You never mentioned your were "right clicking" when this happened to you, the link you provided is a fairly well known bug from a few years back. Are you sure that is it because that particular problem hogs up the cpu for a few seconds, but only when you "right click" an item.

#15 usasma

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 09:06 AM

Issues with explorer.exe when right clicking can usually be traced to a resources bottleneck - if it's not malware causing it.

You "may" be able to track down the offending culprit by using Process Explorer (free here: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysintern...ssExplorer.mspx )

When you first open it, resize the Window so you can see a part of your Desktop,
Then, right click on the explorer.exe process (in Process Explorer) and select Properties,
Then select the Threads tab. Position this tab so you can still see an icon on your Desktop

Then right click on that icon and see what Start Address has the largest Cycle Delta - and let us know.

Another way to check this, is to use Autoruns (free here: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysintern...s/Autoruns.mspx ) to see what's loading with explorer.exe (in the Explorer tab). Be careful changing settings there tho' - as it can make the system unstable.

EDIT: A common reason for this sort of slowdown is a large amount of large files on your Desktop. To fix this, move all the stuff on your Desktop to a folder that you create in the My Documents folder - then send shortcuts to your Desktop of the items you need to have there. To do this, right click on the item(s) and select "Send To", then select the "Desktop (create shortcut)" link

Edited by usasma, 23 December 2008 - 09:09 AM.

My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

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